It will be November this year when we finally begin to understand “Who is out there”.
As a child, I lived in a country area of Australia and, as was common in “Those days” there was no electricity nor gas, just firewood.It sounds a little pre-historic I know, but it was the way of things then. Being not wealthy and combined with a rural life-style, one accepted things as they were and just got on with living.
I well remember the blanketed feel that came from an open fire and the smell of burning wood. Even the next morning wetted-down smell of coals and damp smoke, was something of a security.
A house that was warm and a bed that resonated the thunderous rain storms through its multiple blankets, was luxurious and life affirming.
To experience the wonders of electricity, it was necessary to visit the near-by town. There, was found all manner of enticing objects and contraptions.
Electricity and for that matter the telephone, were truly a spectacular leap forward and, for me, un-believable and magical.
Television was something that was around, but seldom seen and only by the more “well to do”. That is quite ironic because today it is quite usual when a television programme is used as a reference, that the “well to do” quickly remind all in the vicinity that they ” don’t watch television”. That always delights me.
Now here we are today with the internet and e-mails. How is this possible?
As an avid reader, even as a child I used to ponder “out there” and , like every other child probably, consider the chances of UFO’s being real and life on other planets as normal.
In reading today of the Rosetta Mission, I cannot but wonder if there has been a period in human existence, where such a Great Leap Forward has been encountered.
The Rosetta Mission involves a satellite equipped with really good stuff, to dispatch a landing apparatus onto a Comet that is 5 Kms wide. Not only did the Rosetta have to catch up to this comet by getting slung towards it by the Earth and Mars forces (Ooh!), but once it caught up, then land on such a small surface. All this is happening mega-miles from the Earth and has taken 10 years since launching.
Scientists are hoping to un-lock further secrets of the universe by taking samples from the comet and piggy-backing it for some time to come.
Now this needs to be put into some context. No electricity – landing on a comet mega-miles from Earth. That’s what is in front of me here!
How is this progress possible and what does this mean for the generations that follow us?
As we look back through history, it appears that our science developed at a pace that was understandable. It was measurable and controlled, running in parallel with life as it was. Now, it is seemingly beyond anyone to predict the changes that are before us, given the enormous growth in ways we maybe couldn’t have conceived.
This is a remarkable time to be living. I guess that the people of past generations must have thought the same,but to be living today where so much change is going on, does make one take a breath and appreciate the chances. It could be that science in the future stalls and becomes un-popular. This would mean ,today, could be viewed as the “Golden years of science”, the time of great advances and inter planetary travel. A time where possibilities were not only courted but rewarded. Our time here may just be the most important in human development akin to the discovery of fire being used by man. We truly are in a fortunate position.